Irwin Mitchell aims to double helpline calls

Irwin Mitchell aims to double the volume of calls received by its legal advice helpline service after winning a key account with Barclays.

From this week Barclays’ small medium enterprise (SME) customers will be offered premium accounts that will include access to the helpline. This will offer free legal advice on all commercial matters, from business start-ups to employment law.

Managing partner Howard Culley said the helpline would be a significant part of the firm’s growth going forward. Of the Barclays deal he said: “It’s a very good partnership for us. We’re going to be building on the helpline business and hope to be doubling its size in the next 12 months.”

Head of insurance Joe Simpson said the helpline had initially received 20,000 calls per annum, which had been increased to 100,000 following client wins with the Automobile Association and the RAC.

“Now we want to take it to the next level and aim to have 200,000 calls per annum within the next 12-18 months,” Simpson added.

Irwin Mitchell is keen to take outside investment when the Legal Services Act is implemented in 2011. The growth of the legal services helpline is seen as a key component of its growing commoditised services business.

“It resonates with the Legal Services Act because it’s all about giving people immediate access to advice,” Simpson explained.